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what should I join?

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    Hi I'm wondering what i should join, I'm currently in the ATC and when I'm older i want to be in the military. Im wanting to join at 16 but my parents said they won't let me because they want me to get my A levels. I want to be the best and I'm debating on the PARAS, Royal Marines or RAF Regiment but I'm not sure on the RAF Reg because I want to be offences not on defence. Also I heard that the Royal Navy and RAF are a lot better and help you settle back in to civvy life than the army, is this true?

    This isn't really a question that we can answer. You need to do your own research on trades and see what interests you more. The different services are what we make of it. We all banter but at the end of the day we all have important jobs... just depends on what job suits you the best.

    If you are worried about re-settling after the Forces then I would personally suggest staying on and doing A Levels as the better education you get the easier life will be outside the forces plus basic training will be a bit easier as an 18/19 year old as opposed to 16/17 you mature and grow allot as a person in those 2/3 years. I know you want to be on the "front line" but if you were to join a Combat Support Arm then you could also get a trade Military Intelligence, RMP, REME, Engineers, Signals etc... which again would help you after army life. Even in the support arms there are options to be in close combat support you could do P Company and be attached to the Paras or the All-Arms Commando Course and get attached to the Royal Marines, plus various roles that would see you attached to the UK's Security Services or Special Forces if you are good enough at your job.

    If you are stuck on the Paras & Marines then there are still opportunities once you leave as you don't sit on your arse at unit and just do a basic career, the idea is to get as many qualifications as you can. For instance in the Royal Marines you can specialize in Combat Intelligence, Signals (Information Systems, Telecommunications Technician, Electronic Warfare Operator, Yeoman of Signals (If you reach this you get a Masters Degree) Special Forces Communicator (if you pass the course)), Driver, Assault Engineer, Metalsmith and a few more all of which could be useful for a career outside the forces.

    The RAF do treat their people better than the Army do, their pay is slightly higher but not by much & they also have many different trades which would greatly benefit you outside the forces. On the downside promotion is slower and if you crave any sort of "Action" then the RAF is not for you the RAF Regiment are in no way elite they are behind a Regular Infantry Regiment in terms of ability and would see far less action. The Royal Navy is again good for Qualifications/Trades but don't expect any action and the downside is being stuck in a ship for months at a time in small cramped/shared accommodation, in the Army/Air Force you can generally expect your own En Suite Room once out of training and into Regular working units (although not on exercise or ops).

    So in summary I would suggest staying on at school, get the best grades that you can and mature a bit more. In the meantime keep working on your overall fitness and research the different trades and roles within all three services, there is plenty of information to be found online. Once you have found a role that you think would suit you research and learn as much about it as you can and then put in your application when you are about to leave school.

    Unless you are academically incapable of achieving A-Levels, I'd do them. Really they are the minimum academic qualification to do quite a lot of things nowadays and if you don't, you may wonder why, in a few years, that you didn't.
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